It's Back!! Donkey Milk!

After a long absence from the brewery the famous Atomic Donkey Milk Stout has returned. Just a week or so after brewing our Atomically Red Irish Ale we once again revisited an old classic recipe. The Milk Stout was easily one of our most requested brews and also a house favorite. We went with the exact recipe as the first time (see new recipe tab). Only thing we did differently was use 2 yeast strains. Not expecting a big difference in taste. But we love to experiment here at AD Brewing so we said why the hell not. We went with 1 US-05 dry and then we used the us-04 that we harvested from out porter a few weeks back. The liquid yeast was added 2 days after the dry pack. The fermentation was slow and steady at first. Once we added the harvested yeast the bubbling really took off. Within 2 hours of pitching it, there was very steady action. We almost added a blow off tube but we were able to burp the fermenter enough that it wasn't necessary.

Our SG came in right on the nose at 1.064. Just like the original. We were very excited to see that. The next gravity check will be sometime Saturday. We will update the blog asap. Also, we will be doing perhaps our final gravity check on the Irish Red tonight. If all goes well, we will be kegging later this evening. The ZaPorter has been in bottles for about a week now. Another week and they should be ready to go as well. Lots of beer related fun going on at the brewery right now. Good times are being had by all. Hope everyone had a great Christmas and has an even better New Years in store. CHEERS!!

All Bottled Up

Every time we sit down and fill bottles for an hour, and then cap, and then clean, and then move to storage, we are reminded why we love kegging so much. But this was a special situation. This is the second round of Atomic Donkey Brewing's ZaPorter. Only difference this time was that we went with coffee from a local shop in downtown Salisbury. Main Roots coffee is still pretty new in the area and they make the finest coffee hands down. Great owners and great clientele.

One other minor difference was the amount of hazelnut we added to this batch. It was the only thing we would have changed about the last batch. Wanted the hazelnut to come through a bit more. I'm very confident that we achieved it this go round. Ended up with 60 bottles this time. Only a few spills while bottling. That's a hell of a victory for this brewer. Of course the trigger on the bottling wand got stuck once. Looked like someone had been stabbed and bled porter all over the brewery floor. Perhaps we lost a brew or two. Again, it happens.

The entire operation took maybe 2 hours from sanitizing to clean up. Not bad, but kegging is so much better. That or we need to go automated. CHEERS!!

111 W Main St, Salisbury, MD
(443) 944-9789

Seeing Red

Wet, cold, and windy. That was the scene this weekend. Not in Ireland, but in Allen. Seemed only fitting that we were brewing our Irish Red. This was the same recipe we used several years ago. We tweaked it a bit last time, but we were not as happy with the results. So it was back to the original that we loved so much. No real issues, although we did have one incident. This time we were brewing back at Atomic Donkey. All our equipment is over at Crooked Oak so we went old school and used a single burner. Only thing was, this burner had a timer on it and only went up to 20 mins. So we had to keep turning the timer. We'll, we forgot to do this one time so the flame was out for about 5 mins. No problem though. Turned it back on and we were up and boiling in no time. This was just a quick 5 gallon batch. I had a 1pm appointment with my boy and the Eagles game. Thank god the brewing went well because the game did not.

The one big change from the last recipe was the amount of honey we added. The last version of this brew was far too sweet in my opinion. I will have the recipe posted tonight or tomorrow along with pictures. We are also adding our vanilla and hazelnut to the ZaPorter tonight and will be bottling tonight or tomorrow night. Just depends on what the kids sleeping patterns will allow us to do. Whatever happens, there will be pictures. :) CHEERS!

Extract Intact

We completed our coffee extraction last night. For this brew we used some Brazilian coffee from a local shop here in town (Main Roots Coffee). The owner, Nate, is a young up and coming business owner here in town. We used this bean and his suggestion. It has a chocolate taste to it but is mild in its bitterness. Its not a dark roast like we used in our last version of ZaPorter. We added the extract last night.

For the cold extraction we used 2 cups or water and approx. 6 ounces of beans ground. The water was boiled and once it was cooled we poured it over the coffee, covered it, and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours. We then filtered out all the ground through typical coffee filter paper and poured it directly into the secondary. We will add the vanilla and hazelnut the day of the bottling. That's looking to be this Sunday night. We are very excited to have this brew around again. It went over very well last time. That's the reason we bottled. We love giving brew away as gifts. So if you were good this year, you might find a few brews under the tree. CHEERS!

New Blog and Yeast Update

I was recently lucky enough to be one of the first guests on a new podcast called Beer With Strangers. You can find a link to the interview on Tonys homepage, The State of the Beer. Give it a listen then follow Tonys Blog and leave some comments. There is nothing more rewarding than getting feedback via comments on your blog.

The interview was a lot of fun. Doug(Xtreme Brewing) and I had a good time and even had a bit of my homebrew. I look forward to seeing and hearing what Tony does in the future. He has a knack for this interviewing thing and social media. Keep checking back my friends. It's going to be good.

I included some pictures below of the yeast we gathered from our Porter last week. We have 3 large jars and one smaller one full of these little miracles. Also, there is a picture of our Imperial Pilsner. The 9.4% nectar has really cleared up and is tasting more and more delicious. Wish everyone could try it. Soon my friends, soon. CHEERS!

Keeping Those Yeast Clean

Last night we moved our ZaPorter Part Deux to its secondary resting spot. It will remain there with some hazelnut, vanilla, and espresso added, for another week before going into bottles. This time around we decided that instead of dumping all our trub and yeast, we would capture those yeast and store them away for future batches. It really is a simple process. I took some photos showing the steps.

1. Boil all your mason jars and lids for approx. 20 minutes.
2. Using tongs, remove the jars with the water still inside.
3. Store the water with lids on in the fridge overnight.
4. Transfer the beer into your secondary, bottles, kegs, etc..
5. Dump the water from the mason jars into the bucket and give it a good swirl or two.
6. Let it sit for 20 mins to allow the yeast to become suspended and the trub to fall out of suspension. You should see an obvious line of separation. See pictures below.
7. Carefully dump the watery part from the ferementor into the biggest jar leaving the solids behind in the ferementor.
8. Let it settle again for approx. 20 mins.
9. Then dump into smaller jars. Again, leaving solids behind.
10. Label and store away in a fridge. When ready to use just create a starter and dump the jar into it. Give it 24-36 hours and then pitch into your wort.

I'm not sure why we have not done this up until now. It is a very simple money saving technique to use. It also opens up the creative doors a bit more. The one thing I would change is I would have a large jar to dump the initial liquid into from the ferementor. We didn't have a jar large enough so we had to use 3.5. Everything worked out fine. Just a bit more of a pain. Here is a link to a longer more detailed write up.

ZaPorter part deux

This past Friday I happened to be off of work (sick child) and it was a rather nice day. So what better to do than brew? And what better to brew than the next batch of Atomic Donkeys ZaPorter? We have had many requests for our Vanilla bean, Hazelnut, Espresso Porter and so we decided it was time. This was only a 5 gallon batch so it was not that long of a day. We started around 11 and were all cleaned up by 4. We were joined in the middle of the session by the owner of Crooked Oak Brewing along with some other friends. Everything went according to plan.

Original Gravity: 1.055
Target Final Gravity: 1.014

The last time we brewed this it was mainly to be enjoyed by others. We saw very little of it stay at the brewery. This time around the goal is to keep half in house and the rest to go to those that want it. As much as we love our creations, it's even more rewarding to watch others enjoy it.

For more information on this brew please see the previous write up on ZaPorter. CHEERS!

Sunday is Brew Day

So this past Saturday Crooked Oak Brewing and Atomic Donkey Brewing took a ride up to the new Xtreme Brewing location in Laurel, Delaware. No real idea what type of brew we were going to make. More or less we wanted to see the new store. And it did not disappoint. The place looks great. Its a very hands on experience now. Crush all your own grain on one of the 2 large mills. Hops and yeast are easily accessible. One thing that has not changed is the friendliness of Doug and Patty and all who work for them.

The brews we decided on after a nice tour of the new place was a porter and an Irish red. Atomic Donkey will be recreating the ZaPorter from a while back. It included vanilla bean, hazelnut, and espresso. All extracted on site at Atomic Donkey Brewing. While Crooked Oak will be going with a bourbon, pumpkin porter. The Irish Red recipe is the same one we brewed up for the Battle of the Brews some 2 years or so ago now. We are excited about both of these brews but especially the Red. It's been too long since we brewed up a good red. One of our favorite styles. (Interesting history behind pumpkin brewed ales. Take a look here)

So onto Sunday morning. We had grand plans of starting the brews bright and early at 6am. Just like the last go round. Well, a late night of fun on Saturday moved that time up till 8:30. So instead of getting 2 brews done we only managed 1. We got Crooked Oaks Pumpkin Porter done in time to catch the Eagles game at 1. Everything went well. No burns or scratches. Even managed to get a swig of bourbon and a few beers into the mix. At one point some of the Chesapeake Bays finest even showed up.

The efficiency came out right at 76%. Could be better but that's not bad at all. I'm quickly becoming a fan of the early morning brewing. 6am is ideal to me. Especially when doing larger batches. I could spend sun up to sun down brewing every single day. Brewing is something I love more and more. Every batch I make brings me around the reality that I want to spend the rest of my working days creating delicious and fun brews.

Hope you enjoyed this short write up on our brewing day. Next one is coming sometime this week. We will have something up asap. Sometimes life (children) do not allow for the immediate posting like we want. But we will do our best. CHEERS!!

Kegged Pils and IPA in Waiting

So we finally had a chance to get our Imperial Pilsner into kegs the other night. The final abv came in at 9.4%. Its bit higher than we thought it would be, but the taste is great so we are happy. Had two last night and wow. Don't need many more than that. If you want to be standing upright that is. Meanwhile, the poor Homegrown IPA 10 gallon batch we brewed sometime ago is still in buckets. The goal is to bottle them before the week is out. The thought of bottling 100+ brews makes me tired. But we will get it done and it will be another great Atomic Donkey Brew. So we will get it done and we will be sipping on our Imperial Pils while we do it. I will have pictures up of the pilsner and bottling fun with the IPA. Stay tuned. CHEERS!

Great Friends, Great Beer, Amazing Time

What goes better with occasional rain showers, heavy mist, and strong gusty winds you ask? Well how about the Good Beer Festival? Add to that dearly loved friends you have not seen in a year or more and you have all the makings of a memorable weekend. Friday evening a life long friend of Atomic Donkey Brewing joined myself for a nice 5.5 hours session of labeling all the Good Beer HomeBrew Competition entries. Perhaps the most frustrating thing was not the peeling, writing, and sticking on of labels, but the fact that were surrounded by 102 beers which we could not drink. It was a true test of self control. We did prevail and celebrated upon returning to the brewery by drinking as many beers as quickly as we could. Turns out that was not a great idea going into the weekend.

The evening of Friday the 11th we were joined by two more great friends from my college days. The good times were rolling. We all woke up Saturday morning still feeling a little bit of the fun from the night before. But nothing was going to stop us. Around noon, 5 of us piled in a taxi van and headed to Pemberton Historical Park for the Good Beer Festival. When we left the brewery the weather was overcast but warm. perfect drinking weather. No sun to beat on you for hours. It's worth mentioning that we used Riverside Transportation Service and had one of the best drivers I think I've ever had for a ride. Funny guy and just a good guy all around.

As soon as we stepped out of the taxi at Pemberton the mist began to fall. It would stay off and on the entire day. This inevitably kept the numbers down from last years sunny and 89 degree festival. I was however impressed with the number of people that still turned out. And it was clear early on that the folks that came out came to have fun. With 53 breweries on hand, it was not hard to get right up to the table and get your sample. At a festival this size its hard to pick out a favorite. I will say that after our initial walk through and tastings, we found ourselves returning to the tables for The Brewers Art, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Southern Tier Brewing Company, LongTrail Brewing Company, and Victory Brewing Company. Those were just some of the highlights. There were very few brews I wouldn't have again. The mist came and went the rest of the day. Everyone there seemed to be having a great time. We were there till they kicked us out. Then it was back to the brewery for a nice southern style BBQ dinner with yet even more friends. A visibly startled babysitter had a good laugh watching all of us crazy people. Thank you again if you're reading this. A real lifesaver. The drinks slowed a bit after everyone's belly's were full. Our local friends took off back to their place and we all crashed shortly thereafter. Plenty more drinking was in store on Sunday. Had to give our drinking muscles a break.

Sunday morning came pretty quickly. We were all moving a bit slower than the day before. The quietness was a sure sign of plenty of fun the previous day. Myself and one of our visiting friends had to be at the festival grounds around 9:30 to make sure the Homebrew Competition was set up and ready to go. Plus, for some damn reason he decided that running in the Hangover 5k was a good idea. Nothing says fun like running 3.1 miles with a belly full of beer and bbq. Before the race started he and some others helped to get things organized and ready. Of course as I found out last year, there is always something more that could have been done. But thanks to the help of many others, I think things went pretty smoothly. More kinks to be worked out next year but we are learning all the time.

The competition started around 10:30 Sunday morning and finished at approximately around 4:30 or so. A big thanks to all the judges and stewards. it was a long day. We were lucky that the rain held off all day. The folks that made it out to the fest on Sunday got the best weather of the weekend. As always, on Sunday the crowd was thinner. This allowed for even faster access to the brews. Not sure if that's good or bad. I was not able to sample nearly as much as I did on Saturday due to the competition. But I had a blast. The top 3 winners are posted below. Atomic Donkey Brewing made the Best of Show round with our Hefeweizen but did not place in the top 3. Top 10 our of 100+ brews is a good day anyways. The winner truly deserved it. A Raspberry Kolsch took home the big prize and it was very deserving of it. Every beer in the Best of Show round was great. The judges did a perfect job of putting through the most deserving brews. A big thanks to everyone that submitted entries this year. We grew the competition in a big way in the second year. I know the third will be even bigger and better organized.

It was a wet and wild weekend spent with loved ones. There could have been a monsoon and we still would have had an amazing time. Its sad when times like that come to an end, even if its just temporary. We already miss our friends and the times we had. But there is always next year, and hopefully those random times in between. We at Atomic Donkey Brewing hope you all had a sun and safe weekend. CHEERS!


1st Place
Michael Navas
Fruit Beer
Name – Raspberry Kolsch

2nd Place
Gary McCready
American IPA
Name – Mc IPA

3rd Place
Dean Pierce
Strong Scotch Ale
Name – Wee Little Ditty